In Iowa, The Trump Era Realignment Intensifies

Two waves hit Iowa on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Democrats, the red one was just a little bit stronger and in just the right places for Republicans to win statewide and in specific state legislative seats. The election results continued the trend of intensifying polarization in Iowa and national politics, exacerbating both parties’ weaknesses and strengths in different communities. That process started many cycles ago, but Donald Trump really sped things up. Fred Hubbell carried only 11 counties, a steady decline from Barack Obama’s 38-county win in 2012, though better than Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance where she won just six. And […]

The Most Shocking Number From Iowa’s Election Night

Democrats were feeling good early on last night. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer had both made history in their congressional victories. J.D. Scholten was actually leading Steve King. Democrats swept a series of Iowa House races in the Des Moines suburbs. Fred Hubbell jumped out to a big lead when Polk County came in fast. But as the evening wore on, the mood soured. Kim Reynolds picked up steam as rural counties reported, and she started winning a handful of blue-collar Eastern Iowa counties that Democrats needed to hold. Eventually, she won. How? Many Democrats were stunned that both Finkenauer […]

Abby Finkenauer Makes History, Beats Rod Blum

Abby Finkenauer will go to D.C. early next year as one of just two women elected to Congress under the age of 30 (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the other winner). She joins Cindy Axne in the joint honor of being the first women elected to the U.S. House out of Iowa, as well as the first Democratic women elected to federal office here. The 29-year-old state legislator ousted incumbent Rod Blum from Iowa’s 1st District this evening. It was the end to Blum’s controversial and contentious second term in office, one where a series of angry outbursts and unforced errors from […]

Potential Scenarios For Tonight’s Iowa Elections

It’s here. It’s finally, finally here. Iowans are headed to the polls this morning, and there’s already reports of long lines and enthusiastic new voters registering at their voting place. After high-profile campaigns that have lasted an intense 16 months or more, most candidates, volunteers, staffers and rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans are just eager for it to be done – and to see who wins. Democrats have become cautiously optimistic in the past week, though memories of devastating election nights in 2016, 2014 and 2010 weigh heavy on their minds. But there are very legitimate reasons to feel good about […]

These Counties Have Already Surpassed Their 2014 Early Vote

Iowa is on pace to easily surpass its final 2014 early vote totals before Election Day. Democrats’ numbers are looking particularly strong, pulling away by a strong margin from Republicans in the last week. There are 35,192 more registered Democrats who have voted early than registered Republicans. At this point in 2014, Democrats held only a 6,829 lead. Let’s dive in to all the numbers, including a look at what counties are turning out strongly for either party (as always, you can look at my full county spreadsheet here). First, here’s the current statewide early vote totals: Requested Voted Dem […]

Which Iowa Counties Are (And Aren’t) Turning Out Big For 2018

Thousands of Iowans are casting their ballots every single day as we enter the final 20 days of the campaign. Democrats started out with a big lead, but it’s recently narrowed to what the party has typically seen in the past. We’re now at a pretty decent place to start digging into the numbers more (also see our previous post on legislative districts’ early vote). Republicans’ absentee request mailer caused big daily jumps for their totals over the past week, but that’s largely stabilized now. Looking back at the 2014 midterm early vote numbers is still comparing apples and oranges […]

Rod Blum Closes Ugly With Race-Baiting Ad

Rod Blum isn’t very subtle with his closing message for his reelection campaign. A new TV ad that appears to have started running today repeatedly hits challenger Abby Finkenauer for saying, “I legislate with my heart too much.” But it’s the first few seconds that will grab people’s attention and could cause backlash. Right after the ad shows Finkenauer saying the line on the floor of the Iowa House, an image of three heavily-tattooed Hispanic men pop up on screen over her: Blum claims that Finkenauer “put criminal illegal aliens back on Iowa streets” while the image of MS-13 gang […]

NextGen Launches Major Digital Effort To Turn Out Young Iowans

NextGen Iowa is launching a major digital advertising campaign that goes through the final weeks of the election, targeting young Iowans to encourage them to vote on November 6. The $162,000 online expenditure in Iowa is part of a national $4 million effort from the progressive organization that is focusing on youth turnout this year. The ad blitz kicks off on October 15 and is targeted at over 170,000 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 35. They will run on a wide array of websites, social media sites and video services, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Hulu, Vevo, […]

Abby Finkenauer Breaks Another Iowa Record With $1.6 Million Quarter

In case you were wondering if the news could get even worse for vulnerable incumbent Congressman Rod Blum, you have your answer: it can. Abby Finkenauer, his Democratic opponent, will report raising a cool $1.6 million for the 3rd Quarter reporting period, her campaign tells Starting Line. That more than doubles her previous quarter’s haul of $765,000, which was already an all-time record for an Iowa Democratic congressional candidate for one quarter. It comes on the heels of several impressive quarterly reports announced today from Democratic challenger candidates from around the country. Both Amy McGrath in Kentucky’s 6th District and […]

Democrats’ Digital Ad Strategy Lagging Behind Republicans’ In Iowa

Earlier this year, Facebook began making public every political ad that is run on their platform as part of their effort to create a more transparent process following criticism of Russian influence in the 2016 election. You can now easily find every ad deemed “political” in their Ad Archive, including those currently running, by searching for any candidate’s name. Starting Line pored over every ad run by or about Iowa’s statewide, congressional and state legislative candidates. One consistent theme stuck out: Republicans are running far more creative and comprehensive ad campaigns designed at both persuasion and rallying their base; Democrats […]